Press Release
November 15, 2011


"This year, the economy was characterized by massive underspending. It could have been deliberate, or caused by bureaucratic red tape. Or, it could have resulted from incompetence on the part of spending agencies," she said.

To support her charge of massive underspending, Santiago said that while the total programmed expenditures for the first quarter of this year was P1.042 trillion, the total actual expenditures was only P 848 billion.

"The extent of under-spending of the productive part of the budget was P194 billion," Santiago said.

In view of the massive underspending this year, Santiago said that the budget seems to have become a drag on economic growth, instead of becoming a tool for national development.

Santiago warned that the emerging deficit in 2012 might be around P350 billion rather than P 286 billion, as forecast by the administration.

"I have serious doubts on whether the Bureau of Customs can collect P365.1 billion in 2012. In the first three quarters of 2011, the BoC had a shortfall of P35 billion. Hence, in 2011, the BoC is expected to have a revenue shortfall of around P 49 billion," she said.

Santiago said that the administration should immediately address the emerging large budget deficit.

"The administration should cut spending, raise taxes, raise the deficit level, or combine the three," she said.

Santiago said that because of the emerging large budget deficit, it is likely that the P1.854 trillion budget has to be cut.

"In the event of a budget adjustment plant because of a larger deficit, the plan should be first discussed with Congress, and congressional concurrence should first be obtained," the senator said.

Santiago, who previously exposed abuses with the Road Users Tax, said that the proceeds of certain funds exempt from congressional revenue and approval should be deposited with the National Treasury, and the users should be subject to congressional revenue and authorization.

The senator referred to the PCSO Fund, the PAGCOR Fund, the Malampaya Fund, the Road Users Tax, and many more such funds.

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